Sunday, April 16, 2023

a kind of review, plus: food I don't care for

so our last week was busy and jammed packed with school work- they are rushing to get us as stuffed full of Spanish words (palabras) as they can.... we also revisit some of our favorite places this week- 

Things I have noticed when living in Sevilla for six weeks (as of tomorrow) 

All traffic stops when someone enters the cross walk EXCEPT BICYCLES. Just as in the US it seems bicyclists think the rules of the road don't apply to them.  The exception to this oddly enough (not) is when there are police officers in the area. This leads me to believe that there may be consequences for running down pedestrians here. Novel concept. 

Walking on the narrow streets can be challenging; some areas the sidewalks are literally not wide enough for a single person, much less two passing. This is workable for two reasons. People step off into the streets when there are no safety threats from traffic and also because in really tight areas (one on the way to school) all vehicle traffic waits for the pedestrians to clear the tight area before coming through. This all works really well because people who are in the wider space stand against the buildings and let the traffic (usually only a car or two) come by so those who are already in the tight area, before the cars get there, are given a chance to traverse it before the cars/small trucks move ahead. Imagine a system like that in the US where everyone is the MOST IMPORTANT person or driver on the street.

Everyone walks fast here. Strolling doesn't seem to exist. This is especially true in the mornings and the early evenings when everyone is trying to get home or headed to meet up with friends. 

Although being bumped in the narrow streets does happen it isn't impolite it's a factor of the space available and people don't seem to be either offended nor expect the other person to be. The most common thing in those occurrences is a murmured "pardon". 

There are bikes and electric scooters available all over the city tucked away in corners sometimes due to the aforementioned lack of sidewalk space. 

Washers are common but dryers are not. They have combo machines that simply do NOT dry. The use of drying racks is apparently common. Some are lucky enough to have space to hang things on a line outside (like my speaking partner.) Outside space would be a godsend as it takes more than overnight to dry 100% cotton items. 

Our place for next winter is near a drop off (by the bundle) laundry where they dry the clothes too. Guess who plans on keeping them in business? 

We are never rushed at dinner. They don't land the check on your table when delivering the last thing you ordered. They also don't tell you to leave when you are done with your meal. It's no problem to sit and talk with your dining partners for lengthy periods after dining. Why? Because they don't turn the tables in the same way US restaurants do. The only place we have seen where they had more than one seating for the evening meal was  one of two Michelin starred restaurants here in Sevilla. And with that said, the tables were cleared after the diners left and reset and still, there was time before the next diners arrived. 

On the other hand, trying to maneuver through things like getting an appointment to open a bank account or rent storage space or handle the procurement of an extended visa have been challenging.  We just keep telling each other one step at a time..... It is not because we are non residents it's the same system citizens have to deal with as well. 

Classmates who have a winter place in Cabo told us it's a challenge there as well and that it took them six trips to the bank to get an account and a debit card.

The scent of orange blossoms surrounds me as I type this post in the park. Spring has sprung in Andalucia. Life is good. We are already feeling sad about leaving. Our six weeks of classes ends on Friday and Saturday we leave to explore some alternative locations for future winters. In all we will have spent two months in Spain, but (except for a week in Chicago) we have been on the road - living in rented places since we closed on the Florida condo in mid January. 

The one thing (besides a dryer) that I'm looking forward to upon our return home mid April is a fully equipped kitchen.  We don't have an oven or a microwave. And two small electric burners on a cooktop just don't cut it for much food prep. So I can't believe I'm saying this (and luckily virtually none reads a long written post on FB) but I'm sick of eating out and I really want some veggies (a dearth of veggies here on standard menus and the ones that do appear are killed beyond life like the famous local dish of chickpeas and spinach).

The good news is. Our rental for next winter is steps away from a local market and we will be in essence living in the Sevilla equivalent of Brooklyn. So many more options for eating. The historic center is beautiful but populated by tourists and "local" food. In our new neighborhood there appears to be more variety. Although I have literally hundreds of photos of fabulous food we have had here, I have posted the dishes I find the least appealing here. No one likes everything and these have made list of "no thanks"

This is a common dish - tortilla - potatoes and eggs which are generally decent until they serve it in a sweet tasting tomato sauce which to me is the equivalent of drowning a mixed casserole of your breakfast in ketchup. No thanks.

Croquettes. All of which promise more than they deliver. The amount of protein is miniscule and the filling is just some gummy like beige paste. They are edible when they are served hot but why waste the calories?

This is a dish that was actually tasty but an example of the way they murder vegetables. It's an egg dish scrambled with spinach and feta. But in my opinion it needs more eggs and also less heat on the spinach which would make for a good fresh dish if not so overcooked.

Another standard - potatoes bravas. (as in you have to be brave to eat them I guess) They purport to be crisp fried potatoes with a picante sauce, but despite this fairly good example, usually are nothing more than chunks of potatoes covered in "spicy ketchup" (making them soggy if they started crisp) sometimes the ketchup is actually spiced up but usually it's just some style of tomato sauce that in my opinion is overwhelming of the potatoes. Oh, and I have yet to see a baked potato on a single menu, I think it's because they basically don't eat butter here. They have oil on toast in the morning and that's it. There is bread on every table at lunch as dinner but not oil or butter. It's a different lifestyle. Not bad, just different.

This is the famous spinach and chickpeas dish. You can hardly identify this as spinach. (Despite this- it is usually quite flavorful)

Oh my final on the list - a decent salad virtually always overloaded (more than this particular photo) with cheap fishy-tasting canned tuna. I love fresh tuna, and sometimes have tuna salad on an English muffin for lunch. But it's like JUST (solomente) a salad please!

but enough grousing- we overall LOVED the food - as you can tell from the multiple blog posts of food we ate during our two+ months here.

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